Photo: Marie Read

A Special Message About Spring Bird Quest 2020

Dear Friends and Supporters, every year since 2006, longtime FLLT member and volunteer Mark Chao has led Spring Bird Quest, a series of birding trips on our nature preserves, designed to celebrate birds and the Land Trust’s work to preserve their vital habitat.

But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made gathering in groups unsafe, so Mark has decided to conduct Spring Bird Quest on his own. We will post updates on his travels here on our web site and on social media, and we will be keeping a tally of bird species found. Please let us know if you would like to make a pledge per species and we will let you know the total count once the numbers are in. Contact us at General donations are welcome too. Gifts can be made online, please click the box that says “This gift is in honor or memory of someone” and type in: Spring Bird Quest.

Here is a special message from Mark:

Every Memorial Day weekend since 2006, I’ve led the Finger Lakes Land Trust Spring Bird Quest (SBQ) to draw attention to the Land Trust’s role in protecting vital habitat for the birds we love. Over the years, hundreds of birders have joined me on dozens of walks, raising tens of thousands of dollars to support the Land Trust’s work.

Regrettably, the pandemic will make it impossible to hold our usual SBQ group walks this year. Still, I will try to go out myself and with my family throughout the month, including Memorial Day weekend. I hope all of you will be able to get out on your own too.

Of course the Land Trust and I understand that we are all facing profound new challenges in meeting the needs of our families and community in these deeply troubled times. Still, as I carry out my modified SBQ efforts, I will still welcome pledges and direct donations in support of the SBQ.  Thank you very much for your consideration. I am deeply grateful to so many of you for your loyal support of me and the Land Trust over the years, and also for your excellent company during our walks. This year, even as we keep our physical distance, I hope we can still enjoy and share the birds and these wonderful preserves with each other. And I hope you will join me in remembering that the birds still depend on protected land, which in turn depends on the Land Trust, which in turn depends on us.

With my thanks and best wishes to all,

Mark Chao

Photo: Tristan Herwood

In a bit of good news, Mark’s birding colleague identified a Sedge Wren at the Goetchius Wetland Preserve on Saturday, May 2. This wren is extremely rare in Tompkins County, with only about a half-dozen records since 2000. It looks a bit like the much more common Marsh Wren, but is smaller, with warmer colors and heavily barred wings. For more good news, read all about Mark’s bird sightings during this year’s Spring Bird Quest.


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